Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Christ has smashed auction records after it was snapped up for $US450 million ($591m AUD) in New York.
With only 20 known Da Vinci artworks in existence, Salvator Mundi, or Saviour of the World is officially the most expensive painting ever sold at auction after the rediscovered and restored canvas was sold at Christie’s after an 18 minute bidding war.
“It is every auctioneer’s ambition to sell a Leonardo and likely the only chance I will ever have,” said Christie’s Global President Jussi Pylkkänen.
“It’s the pinnacle of my career so far. It is also wonderful for an Old Master to be at the centre of such attention.
“The excitement from the public for this work of art has been overwhelming and hugely heartening.”
The previous holder of the record price for an Old Master painting was Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens, which sold for $76.7m ($101m AUD) in 2002.
The previous auction record for Leonardo da Vinci was set at Christie’s in 2001 when Horse and Rider, a work on paper, sold for $11.5m ($15.1m AUD).
The previous record for the most expensive work of art at auction was set in the same Christie’s saleroom, when Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) achieved $179,364,992 ($236.1m AUD).
You can catch the final moments of the auction below: